So often we all get busy, and our once monthly newsletter goes the way of quarterly, then yearly. It’s okay. Admitting you have done this is the first step to recovery. No judgment from us, we have the same issues. But lets talk about why email newsletters are important, and how you can best manage your newsletters.
So why should you send an email to your customers / supporters / members?
In the world of social media, its easy to see email as outdated or obsolete. Email, especially HTML email, receives a bad rap in general, especially from web designers. For some, it has become a synonym for spam, thanks to the very real problem of mass unsolicited sending. Email done right, on the other hand, is a powerful tool that can produce real value for both the sender and recipient.
In this hyper-connected era people come to your web page long before they come to your restaurant, your store, your church, your meeting or employ your services. What does your web site say about you? Does it connect with your current followers or is it aimed at reaching people who aren’t yet in your loop of influence? Does your site clearly and quickly convey your core message? Does your site reflect your style, your values or your unique position? These are all very important factors to consider because whether or not you have intentionally designed your site with these things in mind, these are the types of things that people are inferring about you based on the experience on your web site.
Huge reminder = People DO make decisions based on your web presence, fair or not.
Some quick and easy things tim make improvements:
- Determine your audience – Identify your target audience and always have them in mind when doing anything on your website.
- Clean up your content - Keep it straight forward and easy to understand. Most people say to much and don’t get to the facts and basics fast enough.
- Less is more – If you don’t have high level of graphic design abilities or insights then certainly error on the side of ‘less’. Keep your site clean, fresh and under control. Don’t over use graphics (especially ones you copied & pasted), fonts, font colors and amateur photos.
Some people say there isn’t anything new to design anymore, we are all just rearranging things that have already been created, slapping on a new label, and calling it our own. That may be true, however I do believe we can certainly push the envelope, change what’s already out there and make a beautiful creation that has never been seen before. Just like each website we create is brand-spanking new, an opportunity to wow a new audience with every new company/church/business. I came across these vodka bottles on The Dieline and I am wowed and impressed.
Someone decided at some point that vodka bottles are supposed to be made of clear glass, and be tall and cylindrical. Everyone that made a vodka bottle after that point, followed suit. Until 1000 Acres came up with a new idea, something unique and different. You can do what you’ve always done and seen before, but shouldn’t you expect the same results? Break out, do something different, push the envelope and you might be surprised with how well it’s received.
Some things are just screaming for an update… like the time share that I am in right now in Orlando.
It was new & “in” when Miami vice was having it’s inaugural years. The problem that this place faces is that it spent a TON of money on permanent fixtures that had a shelf life of less than 3 years. The developers didn’t really think through their design & development strategy very well. What really needed to happen BEFORE they built was to come up with a plan of how to update in the future without having to rip the whole thing back down the frame and start all over again.
You have probably noticed this design flaw in other places as well. You see it in restaurants and stores. You also see it in magazines & clothing lines. You also notice it in companies who build their identity around a very specific niche look and sell out to it so far that they can’t possibly adapt to the future.
So here are some good challenges for us all with design:
- How do we develop an unique market place identity that is pliable for the future and also stands apart now?
- What things must be kept as central in a corporate identity and what things are changeable?
- Are there foundations for building a ‘brand’ that can make it universal in natural?
I hate to be the guy to tell you this, but YOUR ideas are getting stale.
OK, maybe not all of them, but that is what most people in your office, market place or in your store are probably thinking. Even if you have a creative and interesting idea to help you gain new customers or have greater impact in communicating your message, the likelihood is slim that you have the time or the creative resources to pull it off. YOU are all alone on this front. There is a reason that vibrant, compelling and creative movies are the result of teams. Sure, there is a mad genius or two with a vision, BUT it takes a team to hone and harness that full potential of a great creative idea.
So, I ask you this very important question…
WHO is on your creative marketing team?
Who are the people sitting around the table that want to throw random ideas out, laugh, think, research and dream about what your organization could be? Who are the mad, sick, talented and fresh artists that are developing your designs, web site, ads and essence of your product or message? Are you communicating precisely and in such a way that it captures the most important seconds of your audience’s attention and imagination?
Your potential in the market place or in the non-profit sector is limited by the team you have surrounded yourself with to “get the message out”. If you are doing it by yourself, I will be the one to tell you that you are in serious trouble. So, the challenge is, why haven’t you engaged more people beyond yourself yet? Where have you gone looking for creatives that ‘get’ your industry and also ‘get’ the power of creative messaging? Go on, get started. Find them. Start here. Ask around. Risk investing a little time and a little cash in getting the product or message that you believe in out to the people who really need or want it.
So I browse the web. A lot. I tend to look at a lot of design firm websites. So today I pose this question: Is using apple application icons on your site stealing?
I see this the most when browsing design firm sites. I see they use the great little system preferences icon. Or the the ical icon.
So when you are placing these icons next to your tools, applications, or services, is this stealing? Didnt apple go to great lengths to create these beautiful icons? As a creative firm, does this show you are okay with stealing others work for your benifit? What message does this present.
Me personally, I say Yes. I think this is ripping off apple. These icons are not open source for your use. Sure if you are promoting your podcast, i say its okay to use the podcast or RSS icon. But to use the address book icon next to your contact info is too far.
It gets under my skin the more I think about it. Now I am to the point that I instantly discredit the firm for being creative. I feel they stole for their own site, what did they steal for their clients?
What are your thoughts? Am I off on my own in this?